It’s pretty easy to overlook staircases. They are, first and foremost, utilitarian—meant to help you get from one floor of your home to the next. But they can also be a stylish focal point in your living space. To prove it, we’ve rounded up 10 stunning staircases from the WL archives. Keep on reading to find out how some Western Canadian designers and architects have taken this structural element to the next level.

Photo: Sharon Litchfield

Arch-itectural Marvel

This wooden staircase looks great from every angle—especially this one, where it’s neatly framed by an archway. “We wanted to create little pockets of experiences in unexpected places,” says Nancy Surby, principal of Nako Design. The black stainless-steel spindles are both trendy and timeless, and perfectly complement the style of the home. Find out how to get this look.

Photo: Ema Peter

Tread Lightly

This stunning Whistler home is built on a tricky lot, so Mark Simone of Shelter Residential Design did some extensive 3D modelling. Part of that process involved looking closely at sun exposure to ensure every room would be well-lit even on the shortest days of the year. The open-tread staircase, complete with a guardrail of floating slats, helps the light stream into the kitchen. Step inside this 3,400-square-foot property.

Strong Statement

“We always make the staircase the most statement piece,” says Alkarim Devani of RNDSQR’s development projects—and the staircase in his own residence, located in Calgary’s Bridgeland neighbourhood, is no exception. It zig-zags from the basement all the way up to the top floor of the home. Tour this modern and playful family abode.

Balancing Act

“It has a sense of floating up through the space,” says interior designer Barbara McGeough of the staircase in this quirky laneway home. “The concrete floor had a lot of substance, so we brought in the floating staircase and lighter wood walls.” White-painted metal rails also contribute to this nice, clean look. Be inspired by this small space.

Photo: Conrad Brown

Stairway to Heaven

There are a lot of things to love about this Leckie Studio-designed penthouse in the Vancouver House building, and the atrium is one of them. Here, the three-storey walnut staircase takes centre stage—and is perfectly accented by the ethereal 122-light Bocci fixture that hangs above (and snakes through) every level. Explore the rest of this 3,600-square-foot condo.

Photo Krista Jahnke

Peek Performance

This staircase designed by Haeccity Studio achieves two things. First, it lets the natural light flow in thanks to the peekaboo holes that pepper the white metal screen. Second, it adds a sense of playfulness to an otherwise modern and minimalist space. Consider this a friendly reminder that a functional architectural element can also be fun. Check out the rest of this Vancouver home.

Photo: Hayden Pattullo

Stair Master

The understated materials used in this cabin are meant to help you focus on the mountain and river views that are just outside—but this staircase is pretty hard to ignore. Its Douglas fir treads and unique steel guardrail cut right through the home’s three stories, making it difficult not to get your steps in here. Check out the rest of this Twobytwo Architecture-designed cabin.

Spiral Bound

Before Sophie Burke got involved, the staircase in this Vancouver loft was a bit of an eyesore. In fact, everything was. “There was carpet everywhere,” says the designer. So she ripped it up and replaced it with wide-plank oak floorboards. Now, the iron spiral staircase is a structural focal point. See more of this beautiful transformation.

Photo: Martin Tessler

Lighten Up

Thanks to a large skylight, natural light pours into this Cedric Burgers-designed Vancouver home—putting a much-deserved spotlight on the cantilevered staircase and its glass guardrail, which measures 22 feet long and weighs 200 lbs. “We were sweating bullets the entire time until it was clicked into place,” says Burgers. Get a closer look at our 2023 Home of the Year.

Photo: Brett Ryan Studios

Bargain Beauty

Joy Chao of JHA Architecture and Interiors not only helped transform this cookie-cutter house into a dream home, but also managed to stay on budget. How? Abandoning her original plans for a glass handrail. It may not be what she and the homeowners had in mind, but the final project (complete with simple spindles) is just as stylish—perhaps even more so. See the before and after photos.